Students Ask, How Long Does it Take to Become a Black Belt?
The question, “How long does it take to become a black belt,’ is a good one. It is a valid question in any martial art, be it karate or aikido or taekwondo, or whatever. Here are some interesting facts I put together in answer to this question.
The United States army takes Joe Ordinary and makes him a soldier within two months. Two more months and Joe can be trained to be a technically trained specialist in a vast variety of fields. In addition to basic and rudimentary hand to hand combat training, the US military has extensive programs, applicable to the battlefield, and they don’t take decades to do.
The question of how long does it take to become a black belt apparently didn’t occur to Chuck Norris, and didn’t bother Korean Martial Arts Masters. While in the army he took Tang Soo Do classes in Korea. He earned his black belt in a year and a half.
One of the best tournament fighters ever, a fellow name of Mike Stone, didn’t bother asking this question either. He trained hard and long. He earned his black belt in six months.
One of my favorites for ignoring the question of how long does it take to become a black belt is Joe Lewis. Joe Lewis made black belt in a year. Actually, he earned black belts in three different styles in under a year.
The idea of taking four years or more to earn a black belt actually came to us within the last few decades. It was begun by Chinese Kenpo instructors who structured the art around automobile sales contracts. Before then it took a couple of years at most.
The whole idea of a belt system actually is relatively new to the martial arts. Belt systems were started by Jigaro Kano, the founder of Judo. He lifted the idea from a classification system for swimmers.
The above all being said, when you ask the Martial Arts instructor you are thinking about taking lessons from how long it takes, don’t think less of him if he has bought into this idea. Just throw yourself into your studies and get where you are going faster because you try harder. Education, hard work, a dedicated attitude, that is the real answer to how long it takes to become a black belt.